25 Best Things to do in Abilene, Texas

Published By Ketki

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Planning a trip to Abilene, Texas?

Abilene, Texas is a great place for visitors looking to explore the great outdoors, set in a beautiful area with rolling hills and gorgeous wildlife.

This charming city is home to several unique attractions including Frontier Texas!, the Storybook Garden, and Buffalo Gap Historic Village.

Abilene also has a vibrant downtown area with eclectic shops, restaurants and art galleries to explore.

The city has its beginnings as a railroad town in the American West.

Here is an ultimate guide to visiting Abilene, Texas.

Where is Abilene, Texas located?

Abilene, Texas, is located in the heart of West Texas near the geographic center of the state.

It belongs in the Panhandle Plains region of Texas along with Lubbock, Amarillo, and Palo Duro Canyon.

This part of the Lone Star State is also known as the Big Country!

It is about two hundred miles west of Dallas and one-hundred eighty miles east of El Paso.

Also Read: Ultimate Guide to the 7 Regions of Texas

Abilene can be easily reached via I 20 from Dallas Texas
Abilene can be easily reached via I 20 from Dallas Texas

Why Visit Abilene, Texas?

Wondering what is Abilene, Texas known for?

Abilene is known as the ‘Storybook Capital of America’ and features several attractions dedicated to children’s literature.

Abilene is also home to Frontier Texas!, a state-of-the-art interactive museum honoring the heritage of West Texas.

Besides these popular attractions, Abilene is home to universities and cultural events.

Abilene is also great for outdoor lovers, offering a variety of activities such as camping, fishing, biking, and hiking.

Best Things to do in Abilene, Texas

Abilene TX is an exciting destination that offers something for everyone.

People come to the city to experience excellent year-round weather and rich Western heritage.

Abilene is known for its fine arts scene, including art galleries, museums and performance venues.

Here are the best attractions in Abilene TX.

Frontier Texas is one of the best things to do in Abilene Texas
Frontier Texas is one of the most fun things to do in Abilene TX

Be enchanted at the Storybook Garden

The Adamson Spalding Storybook Garden is a magical place for kids of all ages – and one of the best Abilene things to do.

Nestled in the heart of Abilene, this enchanting garden was designed to bring classic children’s stories to life.

The Garden features lush landscaping, delightful sculptures and interactive displays that will transport visitors into the world of their favorite storybook characters.

It’s a great place to take the kids for an afternoon and is one of the most fun things in Abilene.

Step back in time at Frontier Texas!

Frontier Texas in Abilene, Texas is an amazing museum full of interactive exhibits, stories, and artifacts that transport visitors back to the days of the Old West.

The museum allows visitors to explore the trials and triumphs of the old cattle drive era, showcasing hundreds of artifacts depicting daily life on the plains.

Visitors can also experience Texas’ rugged frontier, including a replica jail cell, a blacksmith shop, living quarters from the old fort days, and a spectacular audio-visual show featuring Texas heroes.

Frontier Texas also offers fun educational experiences such as live shooting demonstrations from skilled performing cowboys.

This unique museum gives you a chance to take your kids back in time for an unforgettable adventure into the Wild West!

Also Read: 23 Most Interesting Museums to Visit in Texas

See the historic buildings at Taylor County History Center

The Taylor County History Center in Abilene, Texas is a great place to learn more about the unique history of the area.

One of our favorite Abilene attractions, this was formerly known as the Buffalo Gap Historic Village.

It is located in Buffalo Gap, Texas and is home to a variety of historic buildings, including the original Taylor County Courthouse.

Visitors can explore all the wonderful exhibits, such as a replica of a working ranch from the early 1900s, an authentic log cabin, and a traditional Methodist church built in 1884.

The museum also houses a variety of exhibits and artifacts from the city’s past.

You can also visit other amazing historic buildings, including fire station and blacksmith shop.

Ridgeview RV Resort in Abilene Texas is a good place to stay
Ridgeview RV Resort in Abilene Texas is a good place to stay

Explore the historic buildings in downtown Abilene

Downtown Abilene is full of historic buildings and modern attractions.

The city is home to an abundance of galleries, eateries, theaters, and shops including the Grace Museum, a four-story museum featuring art galleries, a children’s museum and more.

You can also take a stroll through the center of downtown and admire architecture from Abilene’s past.

The Paramount Theatre, a beautiful art deco structure from the early 20th century, is also a great place to visit.

The T&P Railway Depot, built in 1910 and prominence to Abilene, is another must-see attraction.

The Dr. Seuss character statues next to it are one of the fun Abilene TX things to do with kids.

The Boyd Building is another iconic landmark.

Sample delicious local food

Abilene has a vibrant food scene with lots of tempting restaurants offering everything from Texas barbecue to Mexican cuisine.

For a unique dining experience, try the steaks at Beehive Saloon or head to Jay’s BBQ Shack for amazing ribs and brisket.

If you’re looking for something sweet, the Roll Shack offers delicious rolled ice cream.

Candies by Vletas is perfect to buy some gourmet chocolates.

Abilene also has several excellent Mexican restaurants.

Front Porch Coffee & Bakery is a great cafe with trendy decor.

Read now: 27 Best Restaurants in Abilene to try on your next visit

Take the kids to see the Abilene Zoo

The Abilene Zoological Gardens is a small zoo that has plenty of unique exhibits and attractions to keep kids busy.

The zoo is home to a variety of exotic animals, including lions and tigers, giraffes, zebras, alligators, and more.

This popular family attraction offers kids a chance to learn about animals from around the world, see them up close, and develop an appreciation for their conservation efforts.

The zoo also features special exhibits such as the Reptile House that showcases some of the amazing snakes and other reptiles as well as amphibians.

A highlight is the bridge to the giraffe exhibit from where kids can pet and feed these majestic creatures.

Visitors can also take part in educational activities, such as animal talks and interactive learning experiences with zookeepers.

The Abilene Zoo is a great place to explore the natural world and get up close and personal with animals such as macaws, porcupines, black rhinos, and bears.

See the art works at the Grace Museum

The Grace Museum in downtown Abilene is a must for art lovers.

The museum and its three art galleries have a treasure trove of western paintings, historical artifacts, photographs, and even books.

The museum also houses a sculpture garden where you can marvel at the life-sized sculptures, including Native American figures and wildlife.

This art museum has a storied history.

It was formerly the Abilene Fine Arts Museum before being moved into the historic Grace Hotel and renamed the Grace Museum.

Even the museum buildings itself is historic and taking its photos is one of the popular Abilene Texas things to do.

Sunset at Lake Fort Phantom in Abilene Texas
Sunset at Lake Fort Phantom in Abilene Texas

Visit the National Center for Children’s Illustrated Literature

One of the most unique things to do in historic downtown Abilene, Texas!

The National Center for Children’s Illustrated Literature (NCCIL) is a vibrant art center dedicated to the creative works of emerging and established artists that focus on children’s books.

The museum showcases over 500 original pieces of artwork from around the world, including many iconic works by renowned illustrators.

Visitors can learn more about the artists and their stories through interactive displays and films.

It’s a wonderful place to explore the world of children’s literature with your little ones!

Also Read: 29 Interesting & Fun Things to do in Texas with Kids

Take a stroll in the Cultural district

In the heart of downtown Abilene, you will find the Cultural District.

This vibrant area of the city offers a unique blend of art, culture, music and entertainment.

The district is home to The Center for Contemporary Arts, which has a variety of exhibitions featuring works from local and international artists.

You can also take in some live music performances at the historic Paramount Theatre or explore one of the many specialty shops that line the streets.

The Cultural District is a great place to get a taste of Abilene’s diverse culture and enjoy some wonderful art and entertainment.

Check out the bars in SoDA District

SoDA District stands for South of Downtown Abilene.

It is located south of the railroad tracks and once stood abandoned with derelict buildings.

In the past few years, the SoDA district is undergoing a resurgence and new bars are popping up all over the place.

KAO Lounge, one of the best bars in Abilene, is located here.

Other popular bars and restaurants include Amendment 21 and the Mill Winery.

A metal sculpture of the name of the district stands proud here.

Enjoy antiquing in Abilene

If you’re a fan of vintage and antique shops, then Abilene is the place for you.

The small city has a thriving antiques scene with plenty of places to browse for treasures from days gone by.

Head to Antique Station or Elmwood Antique Center where you can find everything from old-fashioned furniture to vintage clothing.

The city also has some great flea markets in the area.

Chimneys at abandoned Fort Phantom Hill near Abilene Texas
Chimneys at abandoned Fort Phantom Hill near Abilene Texas

See the exhibits at Historic Fort Phantom Hill

Fort Phantom Hill is a historic site located in Taylor County, Texas.

It was originally built as an army outpost in 1851 and was used to protect settlers from Native American raids.

Today, it’s a popular destination for visitors looking to learn more about the rich history of Abilene.

The fort has been preserved and restored to its original condition, with educational displays and interpretive programs.

Visitors can also explore the grounds and take in breathtaking views of the surrounding countryside.

Visit the 12th Armored Division Memorial museum

The 12th Armored Division Memorial Museum in Abilene, Texas is a must-see for history buffs.

This museum honors the soldiers of the 12th Armored Division who fought during World War II.

Visitors can explore its extensive collection of artifacts and memorabilia from the war, including uniforms, weapons, photographs, and documents.

The museum also features interactive exhibits and educational programs that highlight the soldiers’ stories and experiences.

This is a great place to pay your respects to those who served our country during one of the most difficult times in our history.

Go tubing down the Clear Fork of the Brazos River

The Clear Fork of the Brazos River is a popular spot for outdoor adventurers looking for some fun in Abilene.

The river is great for tubing, kayaking, and fishing, and offers spectacular views of the countryside.

If you want to make a day trip out of it, there are plenty of campsites along the river as well as nearby small towns that offer a variety of restaurants and shops.

Abilene Water Tower
Abilene Water Tower

See the prairie dogs at Redbud Park

Redbud Park in Abilene is home to a large population of prairie dogs.

Visitors can observe these fascinating animals up close and learn more about their behavior and habits.

The park also offers other activities, such as hiking trails, picnic areas, and playgrounds.

It’s a great place to take the family for a fun and educational day out.

Learn about the universe at the Morgan Jones Planetarium

The Morgan Jones Planetarium is one of the most unique attractions in Abilene.

The planetarium offers visitors a chance to explore the wonders of our universe through interactive exhibits, educational programs and spectacular shows.

Experience state-of-the-art technology as you take in breathtaking visuals of the night sky, learn about the planets, and explore distant galaxies.

The Morgan Jones Planetarium is a truly unique experience for anyone interested in space exploration!

Support local artists at the Center For Contemporary Arts

The Center For Contemporary Arts is a vibrant art center dedicated to supporting local and regional artists.

The gallery features a variety of works from emerging and established visual artists, including paintings, sculptures, photography and multimedia installations.

The Center also offers educational programs and workshops that give visitors an opportunity to learn more about the creative process.

Support local artists and explore some amazing artwork at the Center For Contemporary Arts!

Tour the historic Swenson House

Built in 1910, the Swenson House is a stunning example of Victorian architecture.

The house is now owned and operated by the Abilene Preservation League and offers guided tours that take visitors through its gorgeous rooms and gardens.

Learn more about the house’s history as you explore its beautiful interiors, tour the grounds, and get a glimpse of life in the late 19th century.

It’s a great place to experience Abilene’s cultural heritage and get a taste of its past.

Watch a show at the Paramount Theatre

The Paramount Theatre is a historic venue located in downtown Abilene.

Originally built as a movie theater in the 1930s, it has since been restored to its original glory and now hosts an array of live performances, concerts, and theatrical productions.

Take in some live music or catch a performance from one of the local theaters and get an authentic taste of Abilene’s culture.

Abilene Performing Arts Company as well as the Abilene Ballet Theatre put up performances here.

Take a photo with the iconic Jacob’s Dream Sculpture

Jacob’s Dream Sculpture is an iconic monument located on the grounds of the Abilene Christian University.

The sculpture depicts the biblical story of Jacob’s dream and stands as a symbol of faith, hope and courage.

It is a popular spot for visitors to take photos and admire its stunning beauty.

So don’t forget to snap a few pics with this spectacular piece of art when you’re in Abilene.

Nature trail near Dallas
Nature trail in the park

Visit the winery at Willow Creek Winery

Willow Creek Winery is a family-owned winery located just outside of Abilene.

Visitors can tour the vineyard and enjoy samples of their award-winning wines.

The tasting room also features locally-made food, music and art, making it a great place to spend an evening with friends.

Enjoy the trails at Abilene State Park

Abilene State Park is one of our favorite parks in West Central Texas.

It is a great destination for nature lovers and one of the best things to do near Abilene Texas.

The park features several trails that wind through the picturesque landscapes and offer spectacular views of the surrounding countryside.

Visitors can also enjoy fishing, bird watching, and camping in designated areas.

Take a leisurely stroll or go on an adventure and explore the trails at Abilene State Park!

Also Read: 28 Best State Parks in Texas

Try your hand at minigolf at Play Faire Park

If you’re looking for some family fun, head over to Play Faire Park in Abilene.

This amusement park offers plenty of activities for all ages, from a classic carousel to laser tag and minigolf.

Try your hand at the mini golf course, challenge your friends at the arcade games or just take it easy and enjoy some of the rides.

Play Faire Park is a great spot for an afternoon of fun and entertainment.

Watch a movie at Town & Country Drive In

For a classic movie-going experience, check out Town & Country Drive In.

This iconic drive-in theater has been around since the 1940s and is one of the few remaining in Texas.

Enjoy watching a double feature from the comfort of your car or snuggle up with a blanket on the grassy hills for an evening under the stars.

It’s a great way to kick back and relax while watching your favorite films.

Cool down in the lazy river at Adventure Cove

Adventure Cove is the Abilene TX water park famous for its lazy river, beach, and rides.

It is located in Oscar Rose Park and is a great place to cool down in the sweltering heat.

Plus, it is much more reasonably priced that the bigger waterparks such as Epic Waters or Six Flags.

During vacations, it is one of the most fun places in Abilene.

Spend a day on Lake Fort Phantom Hill

Fort Phantom Hill Lake is an excellent fishing lake located on Elm Creek.

It is about 20 minutes (12 miles) away from downtown Abilene and a great place to spend the day outdoors.

The lake is stocked with various types of fish, and visitors can also take in the stunning views and enjoy some time on the beach.

Swimming at the lake is not really recommended as there have been sightings of alligators in Lake Fort Phantom Hill.

Pack a picnic lunch or grab a bite to eat at one of the nearby restaurants, and make a day out of it!

From the historical Fort Phantom Hill to the enchanting Adamson Spalding Storybook Garden, from the 12th Armored Division Memorial Museum to the Morgan Jones Planetarium, each attraction tells a unique story.

Enjoy the serenity of Abilene State Park, or revel in the local talent at the Paramount Theatre, and don’t forget to pay tribute to the iconic Jacob’s Dream Sculpture.

Whatever your interest, Abilene invites you to indulge in a memorable experience, promising an exciting journey through time, creativity, and nature.

What are your favorite unique things to do in Abilene TX? Did we miss any cool things to see in Abilene? Let us know below!

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